MALAGA – The estuary of the Guadalhorce River west of the city of Malaga is already a protected natural park. But, with a budget of €110,287 from the municipality and €9 million from Brussels, this will now be expanded considerably in three months.
The urban strip that frames the river bed is thus transformed into a large nature park. The initiative comes from the municipality of Malaga and fits in with the city’s intentions to protect and promote urban biodiversity. Furthermore, a subsidy of €9 million from the European Recovery Fund will be added to the municipal budget.
In September 2020, the first step in this project was already taken to improve access to the nature reserve for citizens with the opening of the large wooden pedestrian bridge, the longest in Europe. Moreover, this now means the estuary can be crossed across the entire width.
A study carried out by the urban environment observatory OMAU has divided the riverbed into three zones:
- natural area of the estuary
- zone between the MA-21
- A-7 highway and the zone located from the area known as the old flour mill to the A -7
Along the corridor, 67 kilometres of roads and paths have been designated and marked. With this, the municipality therefore, wants to regulate and encourage use by pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles.
Vegetable noise barriers
Other actions in the Malaga nature park project include:
- restoration of a disused railway line as an access point to the new nature reserve
- construction of an irrigation network for the vegetable plantations to be established in the area
- removal of 46 tons of waste at 37 points
- reduction of the visual impact of the estuary breakwaters with soil and vegetation
- eradication of invasive plant species
- planting of native plant species
- construction of 7,500 metres of plant screens to reduce noise nuisance caused by the adjacent urban areas
- implementation of 40 shelters for the protection of the populations of bats, insects and butterflies
In addition, research is being done into the sound and light effects of the three highways that cross the mouth of the Guadalhorce (A-7, MA-21 and MA-20). Corrective measures such as installing anti-noise screens and possibly reducing the maximum speed on the surrounding roads are also being considered.
A visitor centre will also be built in the future. This will include parking spaces, toilets, an exhibition space, a cafeteria, a cloakroom and an area for athletes and visitors. Consequently, the municipality has designated two possible locations for this: the area next to Sacaba Beach and a space next to the football field of Guadalmar.
The initiators are also thinking of circuits for runners, pedestrians and cyclists. This would require new footbridges across the river bed. Furthermore, dogs will be given an area for themselves. There will also be a space for making works of art in nature and a climbing wall is being considered in a structure that supports the A-7 motorway.